How to Take Care of a Deck
Temperature changes, environmental toxins and everyday use will eventually affect your deck. Taking care of it, both in advance as well as as soon as you notice a problem, can extend the life of your deck for years.
Identify the natural things that may affect your deck directly. Water, sunlight, mildew and dirt are the four basic ones, but depending where you live, your deck may be prone to suffering damage from one of them more than from the others. For example, people living in the West Coast may be prone to water damage (frequent rains), while those living in Florida will have to worry about the effect of Ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Look for products to protect your deck from the identified threat. A good example is water-resistant varnishes. If your deck is unsealed, consider applying a sealing coat, which locks in the brightness and protects the quality of the wood. You will need to sand the deck first to remove dirt and stains and then apply a coat of sealer using a roller and a brush.
Use a chlorine-based bleach to lighten stains on a deck or to fight discoloration caused by the sun. Bleach is not particularly damaging to wood and it causes just a slight effect, enough to make a difference but not enough to risk ruining the wood. Bleach kills bacteria and gets rid of mildew and fungus so it’s a great option if you find signs of them.
Take care of loose nails, splinters or broken surfaces as soon as you spot them. This will prevent streaks from extending and damaging the structure of the deck. If you notice a large crack, you may be better off consulting a professional installer on how to best proceed to seal it. Otherwise, you can probably do so on your own by using sealing varnishes or a hammer.